If you're "in up to your neck in crocodiles",
and you need a REALLY good light, this is it. Designed
specifically for law enforcement and military, it uses
the components, design, and ergonomics best suited for
folks in those professions. This is no "carry around
in glove box in case I get a flat tire" light.
It's a very serious tool with a very serious purpose.
In low-light situations it has the output potential
to momentarily disrupt a subject's vision long enough
to give the advantage to the light's user, putting the
subject on the defensive and making it difficult for
them to identify a clear target. For the uninitiated,
this means that if a "bad guy" is hiding in
the dark getting ready to shoot at a "good guy",
a blast from the M3 at close range can startle his eyes
enough to give the "good guy" time to take
the first shot, or at least give the "bad guy"
pause to think twice. The world is not a fantasy-land
where everyone is nice, happy, helpful, courteous, and
kind to strangers. In certain situations some people
will try to kill you, and the M3 is a tool to help prevent
that from happening when used in conjunction with the
proper equipment and training.
Now, if you're not prone to wind up in those types
of situations because that's not your profession, the
M3 is simply one very durable, very bright, kick-butt
light. Designed for the extremes of combat, it should
be able to take just about anything you can dish out
when camping, caving, climbing, hiking, or anything
else. However, it is not a dive light and is not intended
for prolonged submersion at any depth.
The body of the light looks like it is a very unusual
shape to anyone unfamiliar with the way a combat light
is held. It's commonly held between the index and middle
finger with the momentary button against the meaty base
of the thumb on the palm. The fingers grip the light
at the narrow section of the body. Squeezing inward
on the flanged rubber grip ring forces the light back
against the base of the thumb, depressing the momentary
switch. The lower two fingers on the "light hand"
can be used to grip the base of the "weapon hand"
giving more stability to a firearm while engaging opponents.
The rubber flange is backed by two rubber rings that
can be stretched and removed to allow the light to fit
a particular user's hand better. Of course, you can
hold it using various other grips, all of which are
surprisingly comfortable despite (or perhaps as a result
of ) the unusual shape of the body.
The body finish, both inside and out, is manufactured
to military specifications, giving the light very good
resistance to abrasion and corrosion. Fins are machined
into the body near the head to help dissipate heat that
is generated by using the high intensity lamp assemblies.
The bezel has a notice engraved upon it warning that
it should be considered a hot surface. Don't grab the
light by the bezel if it has been on for any significant
period of time.
The M3 accepts the MN10 lamp, producing 125 lumens
for 1 hour on three 123A batteries, and the MN11 which
produces 225 lumens for 20 minutes with the same set
of batteries. The lamp resides inside a shock isolated
textured aluminum reflector designed to survive sharp,
hard longitudinal impacts. The contents of the bezel
are protected by a tempered Pyrex lens designed to withstand
the high temperatures and thermal cycling resulting
from using the high output lamps. Both lamps are included
with the unit.
If you need to use this light for long distance spotting
instead of close quarters combat distances, you can
purchase a "Turbo Kit" separately which includes
a replacement head and lamps that focus the light into
a much tighter beam.
The switch is a "standard" tactical-style
switch. Press the textured rubber end button for momentary
activation, twist the tailcap for constant-on. The tailcap
has a witness mark that matches a similar mark on the
body. This helps indicate the state the switch is in.
With the witness marks aligned, a quick twist of the
tailcap between the thumb and forefinger (while the
rest of the fingers hold the light in a bezel-down position)
will turn the light constant-on. Twisting the tailcap
backwards 1 full turn until the witness marks align
again locks out the switch so that accidental activation
is prevented. A lanyard ring is found between the tailcap
and the body. A nice nylon lanyard with two spring loaded
cord sliders and a clip is included with the light.
For batteries, 3 Surefire 123A lithium batteries are
recommended and are included with the light. They can
be purchased on-line at Surefire.com for a very reasonable
price ($1.25 each at the time of this review). I do
not recommend buying 123A batteries in local stores.
Even the nationwide "discount" department
stores sell them for $10 a pair.
This light does not have a clip on the side as it is
not intended for pocket carry. Quick access belt sheaths
What I Liked: Very bright, tough finish on the
outside - no need to worry about babying this light,
shock isolated lamp, ability to upgrade to a brighter
lamp assembly or a Turbo Head for distance spotting,
nice lanyard, adjustable grip, very water resistant.
What I Didn't Like: Not a darn
Other Things I Noticed: The beam
was quite oval. This may be the result of several different
things including the long filament in the bulb and/or
the lamp assembly being slightly off center. Close observation
shows that the filament is slightly off center in the
glass lamp envelope. However, the glass lamp envelope
was placed (purposely?) slightly crooked in the lamp
assembly base which compensates for the anomaly; so
the filament is actually centered in the reflector.
In practical use at close quarters combat distances,
the shape of the beam is inconsequential. More important
than the shape of the beam is the clarity, so the lack
of holes and gaps in the beam takes precedence over
having a perfectly round beam.
Conclusions: For a serious job,
you need serious tools. This is definitely on the "upper
end" of serious. If you really need to punch holes
in the darkness, the M3 Millennium Combatlight is a
UPDATE: As requested:
M3 with HOLA:
10,000 Throw (100 comparison chart number)
15,000 Overall Output (150.00 comparison chart number)
That was with very slightly used batteries, so it may
start out just a touch higher.